This process sucks. Glad I never have to do this mess again. Happy with the results though. Applying early definitely helped ease the nerves with two early acceptances, and one to my first choice. As you can see, the whole thing is a big crapshoot. Who would have thought I would have been accepted outright to Vandy (still in shock) but waitlisted at ETSU. Apply broadly to places you don't think you will get in, and to places you think you will be a shoe-in. Be anal about getting your letters and transcripts in, but once you submit AMCAS, don't go reading through it looking for errors. I saw an error in my PS and actually briefly considered withdrawing and taking a year off. This process makes you do crazy things, just remember how lucky you are to even be in a position where your major concern is where you will go to Medical School.
Vanderbilt: First interview...in a word, incredible. The people were fantastic. They showed a real commitment to the med students. My interviewer and I spoke for around an hour and a half, and I didn't want to leave. Some downtime afterward to hang out with interviewers, walk around, or whatever. They had an awesome student lounge with everyone's name and undergrad on a plasma tv. For lunch we had Bread and Company, which was followed by a tour with second years. The anatomy lab was by far the best I have seen. I had never cared too much to see anatomy labs since I knew I would only spend a few months there, but...just...wow. A 6.5 million dollar facility on the tenth floor of a brand new building. Floor to ceiling glass, a 42 inch touchscreen for each body plus ventilation that exchanges the air in the room 22 times an hour. I thought it spoke volumes that they put the anatomy lab on the top floor of this building, a spot that could have been reserved for some bigshot offices. The children's hospital was also great.
Wake Forest: Six interviewees meet and chat with a doctor's wife for a while, then go to a very informative info session. Wake is pretty expensive, but you will be well informed of everything after this meeting. Lunch in the cafeteria with first years. The people I talked to seemed nice, they had just finished a test and were headed out for the weekend. Short tour of the med school and anatomy lab. Lab was good, CT scans of all the bodies would be fun. Never got to see the hospital though. Interviews were really strange. 3 back to back 15 minute interviews. My first was painfully awkward. Maybe I was nervous but I couldn't wait to get out of there. He just stared at me and gave no responses whatsoever. Also gave some rotten answers to my questions. I wasn't the only one who thought this so it wasn't just me. The others were great though. I had thought Winston-Salem was a little bigger than it was. Would have been an adjustment for me, but cost of living is pretty low so it is easy to find housing right next to school if you wish. I was not as impressed with this school as I was hoping I would have been. I can't really place my finger on the reason, I left liking it, but not loving it.
ETSU: I came into this interview not expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I honestly am not interested in rural medicine, but would probably do the rural track if I went here just to get more clinical experience and because it is what they are known for. My toughest interview was here. The interviewer had a negative response for almost everything I said, or would ask a gotcha question to see if I really knew what I was talking about. We carried on for a while, then I went to the student interview, which was a lot more fun. We ate in the cafeteria with some students and had an information session that would answer any question that you could possibly have. The tour covered pretty much everything on campus. The hospital, school and research labs were all nice facilities. The school definitely has a tight knit feel to it. Even the interview group only had four people in it. It would definitely be difficult for me to move to Johnson City. It is a very small city and far from everything. If you are outdoorsy you will appreciate it though. They have a really strange way of evaluating you here. The interviewer puts their comments into a computer and your entire file is sent to four random members out of a sixty-some-odd member committee. The four members rank your file from 1 to 9. The sum is tabulated and put on a projector at the meeting of the entire committee and they decide which scores to take, waitlist, and reject.
Pittsburgh: My first impression: hilly! I had never been to Pitt before, it felt like I was in San Fran again. But wow what a school!!! There were a lot of interviewees with me, probably around 15 or more. We went on a great tour of the hospital and school. The campus is enormous. Definitely be prepared to walk a lot. We got a nice info packet and had some additional info meetings. Lunch was in a conference room. We had pizza with a bunch of other students. Also, students were always hanging out in the interviewee lounge, which always speaks volumes to me. I had a student interview first, which went really well, then a faculty interview which went well. Maybe I should have emphasized my research more to him because he kept asking me about whether I wanted to stay in academia. He was a full time researcher. Also, most if not all of the students I spoke to that day were older. I think Pitt really likes the non-trads. This became one of my top choices with Vandy after the interview.
UT-Memphis: I have always seen myself in Memphis. I was really looking forward to the school I had thought so much about. I was definitely not disappointed. The people there are very nice and seem to really care about the students. My first interview was the most fun interview I have had. After the morning interview we went on a tour with some students. The facilities were pretty nice in parts and kind of rough in others, but that is sort of the draw for UT. You will definitely get clinical experience here like no other place. Med students get to do a WHOLE lot of stuff really early. My second interview went well too. Lunch was in the conference room and consisted of sandwiches with med students (4th years in my case) The turnaround time from interview to decision is really short here, which is very nice. Memphis is...well...different, but there are certainly nice places to live. I can definitely see myself being happy here.
Einstein: I loved my trip to NYC. I stayed an extra few days to check out the area and was pleasantly surprised. The interview group was quite large...around 20 probably. I had an afternoon interview, so I started off with a quick tour and then ate in the kosher cafeteria. Yum. We got a tour of the hospital, then I left for my interview. It went really well. A lot of fun. This is another school that prefers non-trads. I think 2/3 or so of the class took some time off after college. DEFINITELY TAKE THE SPECIAL TOUR. It was a blast. The new building is awesome. $250 million dollar facility. Some of the sweetest labs I have seen anywhere. I didn't know that Einstein was so highly ranked for research, but I think they are number 6 or so in NIH funding. Also, students have housing on campus that is roomy and cheap. This is something to be thankful for living in the Bronx. Really liked Einstein.